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Bank Lending

Interest rate rises would be welcomed by British public – R3 survey

By CreditMan Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almost a third (31%) of British adults say they would be at least a little better off if interest rates were to rise one percentage point or more in the next eighteen months, according to the insolvency trade body, R3.

A further 34% say their personal finances would be unchanged and only 25% predict that their personal finances would be negatively affected.

Giles Frampton, president of R3, says: “It is encouraging that an interest rate rise is not actually perceived as the bogeyman that would damage our personal finances.”

However, the impact of an interest rate rise would be felt disproportionally across the age groups.

58% of British adults aged 65 and over say they would benefit from an interest rate rise of at least one percentage point or more in the next eighteen months, compared to only 17% of those aged between 35 and 44 years.

Giles Frampton says: “Low interest rates have had a disproportionate impact on pensioners, many of whom are reliant on returns on their savings for their income. An interest rate rise would be greeted with relief by those who have been in this situation.”

“The over 65s are the only age group to have seen personal insolvency rates worsen in the last five years. A rise in interest rates could help to reverse this trend.”

The number of personal insolvencies per 10,000 adults in the over 65 age group has risen from 5.3 in 2009 to 5.8 in 2013; for all adults, the rate has fallen from 30.9 in 2009 to 22.4 in 2013.

An interest rate rise is least welcome amongst the 35-44 age group with 35% saying they would be negatively hit by an interest rate rise, compared to only 13% of those aged over 65.

Giles Frampton also warns: “For everyone with mortgages, credit card bills and overdrafts, an interest rate rise will add that little bit extra to the cost of living.”

“Although the majority of British adults say they wouldn’t be hurt by a rate rise, a sizeable chunk still feel they are set to lose out. With personal insolvencies already on the rise again - even with interest rates at a record low - it is important that policymakers don’t forget about those close to the edge when considering the timing of a rate rise.”

Young people unsure over interest rate changes

One in five (22%) people in the 18-24 age group are unsure as to how an interest rate rise would affect them, the highest proportion of any age group.

Giles Frampton comments: “A lack of certainty amongst young people about their finances might not be surprising, but it is a concern.”

“Student loans, overdrafts and credit cards may have helped ‘normalise’ the idea of being in debt. Young people are coming out of college or university potentially owing thousands of pounds - and it’s not going to stay interest free forever.”

“It is important that anyone taking out a loan or a credit card thinks seriously about the consequences of doing so.”

R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals, and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.